TROY — After one of Troy’s seniors was forced to leave the game for the final 51 minutes after a double-yellow card, Chamber Browning knew someone else had to fill the void.
“With Jules (Julianna Williams) being out, we had to step up,” the senior said. “I told everyone at halftime that with her out, we all had to step up and put in the effort to get the win. We just wanted it more.”
And the senior did just that, scoring all three of her goals in the second half to help the Troy girls soccer team seal a 7-0 victory over Miami Valley League crossover foe Xenia during the Trojans’ Senior Night match Monday at Troy Memorial Stadium.
Troy honored four seniors — Williams, Browning, Ali Davis and Madison Burton, before the game, with fellow seniors Alexis Carroll and Sumedha Wundvalli not being available — before the game, an early-season Senior Night due to the uncertain nature of a season that the COVID-19 pandemic has put into doubt how long will last.
But the Trojans (3-0, 3-0 MVL Miami Division) are making the most of their opportunity while they can.
“It’s been crazy with all of this going on, but we’ve been fighting, putting in work,” Browning said. “I’m grateful to have a season. I’m a senior, and if we didn’t, I don’t know what I would have done.”
After two blowout wins, the Trojans expected a tougher matchup against the Buccaneers (1-2, 1-2 MVL Valley), who Troy has beaten 3-1 and 3-0 the past two years, with Xenia scoring a 2-1 win over the Trojans in 2017.
All of which makes Troy’s win even more impressive.
“Games with Xenia have always been close,” Troy coach Michael Rasey said. “They’re a competitive team, and their coach does a good job getting his players to play hard. But I think this year, we’ve got a special group. I’d sure hate to defend us since we’ve got so many weapons that can put the ball in the back of the net.”
Troy took control early after one of those weapons, sophomore Leah Harnish, intercepted a pass in Xenia’s defensive end and scored with 37:02 left in the first half. The Trojans kept the pressure on after that until, at the 14:54 mark, a pass by Eva Raskay sprung Williams on a breakaway, and Williams cashed it in to make the score 2-0 Troy.
Williams was hit with a double yellow with 9:17 left until halftime, though, leaving Troy without the MVL’s current leading scorer for the rest of the game.
“It’s unfortunate that that happened, but it just shows the kind of weapons we have that can step in,” Rasey said. “Any one of these girls can be a leading scorer, that’s how dynamic and good this group of girls is. This shows that if they can click and hit on all cylinders, this is going to be a tough group to stop defensively.”
Aubrey Murphy set up a score by Raskay with 4:15 left in the half, with Raskay one-timing the pass in to give Troy a 3-0 lead at the break.
And in the second half, Browning took over. First, Maddison Manson sent a pass in front of Xenia’s goal that ricocheted off of Harnish and onto the foot of Browning, who sent it into the net to make the score 4-0 with 27:29 remaining. And with 24:24 on the clock, Browning was awarded a penalty kick, converting that chance to put Troy up by five.
Manson then sent a pass up the right sideline to Murphy, who scored to make it 6-0 with 15:26 left. And with 7:49 remaining, Browning jumped on a ball that was popped up in front of Xenia’s goal, finishing off her second straight hat trick to cap off the scoring.
Overall, Troy outshot Xenia 27-4 in the game. Jovie Studebaker made a pair of saves in goal, while Kally Kauflin and Kayleigh McMullen each had one.
“I’ve got to give it up to the defense, too. This was the first time they’ve really been tested, and even then, very few shots were given up,” Rasey said. “That’s what you want a good defensive team to do. And we’ve got more depth on defense this year, so we’re able to keep fresh legs in there. With our speed all across the field, that attack can really come from anywhere, and I really trust our defenders to stop the chances the other team gets.”
Troy travels to Fairborn Wednesday before hosting Butler on Sept. 9.